Photos courtesy of Eric Keyes; goofing off in a photo booth with Gwen, Tony and Tom

In honor of No Doubt’s 30th anniversary, we chatted with close friend and collaborator of the band Eric Keyes for a quick Q&A on his relationship with No Doubt over the years.

We asked him about some of his earliest memories and his most fondest moments with No Doubt. Eric has documented and followed the band for the majority of their career and is behind some of the most treasured home movie footage and iconic photos of No Doubt, which have been included in many memorable documentaries. Fans may recognize Eric’s most notable collaborations with the band including co-writing the song “That’s Just Me”, shooting the album artwork for The Beacon Street Collection and designing for both L.A.M.B. and Harajuku Lovers.

Eric also treated us to an exclusive clip from his personal collection of No Doubt on tour in 1992. The video features footage of the band goofing off with one another during soundcheck and then rocking out onstage with “Big City Train”. We’re very, very excited and honored to share the clip (which happens to be from Eric’s favorite tour) and you can check it out below.

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Photo courtesy of Eric Keyes; intimate photos and mementos from over the years

BSO: What is one of your earliest memories of No Doubt?

EK: The earliest memory would be my first. December 31st, 1985, my friend Dave and I drove in his van to a party we knew of in Anaheim (we lived in Orange) but when we arrived, the cops had already broken it up. Mike, who was throwing the party, invited us in to hang out and that was the night I met John Spence and it was also the night Ricky Nelson died in a plane crash so that date is easy to remember. John and I kept in touch and in February of 1986 when he told me his band was playing at a backyard party in Fullerton, we hopped on our scooters and drove down. I’m pretty sure that was their first performance as No Doubt, with the exception of “No Doubt” and “Total Hate”, the rest of their set was ska cover tunes.

BSO: Was there a moment in particular when you knew that No Doubt was going to make it big?

EK: The first experience and show that made me really take notice was when I flew out with them for their first SNL performance in 1996, which was amazing, but they also headlined the “Jingle Ball – Girls Rule the Yule” at Madison Square Garden and that was insane. The crowd reaction, the press, and the paparazzi. “Don’t Speak” was climbing the charts and hit #2 that weekend… it was a beautiful overload.

Photo courtesy of Eric Keyes; Eric (bottom right) with No Doubt and host Martin Short backstage at SNL, December 1996

BSO: You have been so creative behind the scenes for years, from co-writing “By The Way” to designing for Harajuku Lovers. Do you have a favorite project that you have worked on?

EK: Anytime I can be creative with friends is a good project. “That’s Just Me” is a funny story, so at the time, Tom Dumont and Eric Stefani and I all lived in the Beacon Street (Ave) House and our garage was converted into a studio for recording Demos after Self-Titled. All of the preproduction and demos would end up either being re-recorded for Tragic Kingdom or mastered and compiled onto The Beacon Street Collection. Jimmy Iovine and Interscope wanted “The HIT” so No Doubt wrote and wrote… and WROTE! To the point of having two album/cd’s worth of material. So back to “That’s Just Me”, that song started with me writing a song in my room I had chords and a groove but that was it. A couple days later, I heard my song being played in the living room by Tom and Eric. Eric had written a song called “Louise the Nurse” that revolved around my chords but he didn’t care for the lyrics, so we re-wrote what is now “That’s Just Me”, well at least the stripped down version. It took on a whole different life once the whole band got ahold of it.

Harajuku Lovers and L.A.M.B. was good fun and although I did get comps of the stuff I designed, in the end all the money was used for buying clothes and handbags for my family… which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with happy girls.

Photo courtesy of Eric Keyes; his cowboy/horse design was featured in L.A.M.B.’s Fall 2006 collection

BSO: Do you have a favorite No Doubt song?

EK: I have a few favorites from different eras… how about a Top 10. “Bouncin’ Shoes”, “Up Yours” (duet version), “Open the Gate”, “Start the Fire”, “New”, “End It On This”, “Suspension Without Suspense”, “Magic’s In The Makeup”, “Underneath It All” and “Spiderwebs”… because every set ends with “Spiderwebs”.

BSO: Which was your favorite tour and is there a certain show that sticks out in your mind?

EK: I went out on the first of 3 tours in 1992, the “Trapped in a Box Tour” was great. We were all in our 20’s and crammed into 2 vans for 2 weeks. You can’t really beat that.

BSO: And finally, is there a myth around the band that you would like to dispel?

EK: A myth? Hmm, I know a lot of secrets but no myths. =)

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Eric Keyes is an incredibly nice and talented guy and we’re thankful for everything that he’s contributed and shared with the No Doubt fan community over the years. We’re also extremely grateful and appreciative of him for taking the time to chat with us in celebration of the band’s milestone anniversary!